The struggle for a place in a nursery school

Living in Barcelona is not cheap at all, but when you also have children it can be painful.

A. is already 9 months old and as here in Spain the maternity leave is just 4 months we decided to take him to a nursery school in September when he will be one year old. We knew from friends that finding a place in a public nursery is something close to impossible, but we felt like trying at least. The system is quite bizarre, it works like this: you have to submit your request, then all requests receive a number and then another number is generated randomly and based on this last number you take part in a draw. No, not an usual draw. They basically choose a number starting from which the requests will be accepted. This is something I really did not understand. Of course, when the number was published we realized that we weren’t lucky so we started to look for a private nursery thinking that we would be more lucky. WRONG! We visited a few and they were full, no place. Finally a colleague from work managed to obtain a place for A in a nursery not so far from home.

I really do not understand how this system works. In Barcelona a place in a public nursery costs 250 euros per month, while the private costs between 400-500 per month. We will take A to this private nursery 5 hours and a half and we will bring him home to eat and sleep, as this way we can save 200 euros per month. I think this price is exaggerated, and if all the nursery schools are full is not because everyone in Barcelona is rich, it is just because we don’t hope for a solution and if we want our sons to grow up well we have to make this sacrifice. It’s sad and I hope the Government will look into this as soon as possible and solve this problem, otherwise Spain will start to ask the immigrants to come here, as they are the only persons that still have children nowadays in Spain.

So, here are my tips for you if you are looking for a place in a nursery school in Barcelona:

1. If you’re new here, or you are planning to come to Barcelona I really recommend you to rent a house or buy a house somewhere close to Barcelona but not in the city. If you have children or you’re planning to have children Barcelona is a very very expensive place to leave.

2. If you’re already here and you are looking for a place in a public nursery you should start all the process in April approximately. The nurseries first organize a visiting day for the parents to see the nursery school. This day is usually published on the web Escolas Bressol de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona. Here you can find info and photos of the public nurseries and also information about the admission.

3. Even if you request a place in a public nursery I recommend you start visiting private nurseries in february and book a place for your children there, just in case you are not lucky with the public one.

You can consult the list of public and private nurseries from Barcelona on this web page and on this page you can find more information about the admission process.

4. If you did not find a place in a public or private nursery you can still choose one of the toy libraries in town where you can leave take your son to socialize a bit and you can also leave him there with a tutor a few hours a day.

That would be all for today. Good luck!

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